J is for Jester

J

When I was a kid comedy was very important.

Comedy was how kids paid each other compliments. Comedy was how we insulted each other. Comedy was how we pretended we didn’t care about either of those things.

People who were funny were usually very popular and, sadly, often those who didn’t do too well with their school work. For those people, comedy was their way of covering up embarrassment.

We watched comedy on television and at the movies.  My brother and my cousin used to roll around the floor giggling at the antics of the Three Stooges. (Google image below)

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I, too, found them funny, but they were just a bit too slapstick for me.

I liked comedy sketches that depended on words or sounds for their humour. I loved Bud Abbott and Lou Costello doing ‘Who’s on First’.  Click on the link to watch the youtube video of these guys doing their routine.

Also, Danny Kaye performing the Symphony for Unstrung Tongue in the Walter Mitty movie was one of my favourite pieces of comedy. Absolutely brilliant.

Danny Kaye (Google image below) was my favourite comedian. He was such a talented man. He could sing, dance, act and, oh my gosh, was he funny!  Check out this piece of brilliance from the 1956 movie The Court Jester.  This is the Vessel with the Pestle sequence which never failed to reduce me to tears of delight.

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Danny Kaye’s rubber face and the hilarious wording of the sequence are fantastic. The skit appealed to my fascination with words back then, and it still does today.  My two children enjoyed watching this movie when they were kids too, and would repeat the Vessel with the Pestle lines for hours afterwards.

Comedy is all about timing and I guess that goes for life too. get your timing right and everything seems to fall into place.  Brilliant!

What made you laugh when you were a kid?  I’d love to know.  Please share.

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12 thoughts on “J is for Jester

  1. Danny Kaye, Charlie Drake, Tony Hancock – the list is extensive. During childhood, visual comedy was more immediately appealing than the verbal kind. Later, though, I had a firm preference for what I thought were cleverly constructed verbal routines, by the likes of Dave Allen. I think my all-time favourite joke has to be one of his: Two stockbrokers met in the street. First stockbroker said, “I drove past your house yesterday evening”, second stockbroker replied “Thank you”. Love it!

    1. I think my favourite Dave Allen story was one where he was talking abouts cops and robbers with friends…they all had guns…I had a sawn off shotgun (holding up his damaged finger). That always cracked me up.

  2. I love Who’s on First! My mom had albums of Allen Sherman (“Hello, Muddah, Hello, Faddah!”) and Bill Cosby, (Love the Noah routine: “How long can you tread water??”) and I thought those were hilarious when I was a kid.

    1. I remember ” Hello Muddah Hello Faddah” being number one on the hit parade and all of us kids singing along with it. Thank you for reminding me.

  3. I own “Who’s on First?” and I use it for training programs. I have taught public speaking and how to use humor — like you said TIMING is EVERYTHING. I enjoyed each of the ones you mentioned. You took me down memory ONCE again. 🙂

  4. I loved watching Red Skelton with my parents when I was little and I still remember Andy Griffith’s “What it was was football”…made me laugh until I cried.

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